WAILUKU - The second meeting this season between Maui Interscholastic League powers' Baldwin and Lahainaluna certainly wasn't a high scoring affair, but there was plenty of drama to go around for the overflow crowd of about 8,000 Saturday night at War Memorial Stadium.
Baldwin quarterback Keelan Ewaliko trotted in from six yards out in overtime in a thrilling 20-17 win over Lahainaluna on homecoming night, as the Bears avenged a 32-0 loss to the Lunas on September 7.
In that first meeting this season, Ewaliko did not play due to a broken rib, but this time around, the University of Hawaii commit was clearly the focal point for the Bears offensively throughout, but especially in the overtime period.
Ewaliko called his own number on all three snaps during the extra frame, running for 5, then 9 yards before sweeping around left tackle for the 6-yard game-clincher.
"That game was just awesome," said Ewaliko. "It was just back and forth, their defense against our offense, our offense against their defense. We just played hard"
"We went down a little bit, 14-7, but I just told my offense,'‘Boys, I can’t do it alone. I need my offense, my O-line, all my receivers, to help me get through this.' We all came together and we won the game."
Though Ewaliko finished the night with 136 yards on 20 carries, Lahainaluna bottled him up for much of the contest, and also held him to just 4-of-11 passing for 49 yards. The Bears completed thier first pass around the midway point of the fourth.
With neither team producing very much offensively, the Lunas took over at their own 37 with 11 minutes, 11 seconds to play and proceeded to engineer a seven-play, 63 yard drive that culminated with a incredible individual effort by quarterback Kiko Kohler-Fonohema, as he twisted and eluded a host of Baldwin defenders en route to a 24-yard scoring run. Kohler-Fonohema's point after gave the Lunas a 14-7 advantage with 7:46 left in regulation.
Baldwin would go for it on fourth-and-one from the Lahainaluna 35 but Samiuela Filiai stopped running back Dusty Flores for no-gain, as the Bears turned the ball over on downs.
Then, with the Lunas seemingly in the driver's seat with under five minutes to play, a miscue on a handoff led to an Abraham Reinhardt fumble recovery at the Lahainaluna 41.
Given new life, the Bears would convert the turnover into the game-equalizing score, as Ewaliko capped off a six-play drive that spanned just 1:38 with a nine-yard pass to a wide-open Zacharia Coloma-Mariano in the left corner of the endzone. A Coloma-Mariano kick levelled the score at 14-14 with just over two minutes left to play.
Baldwin had a chance to win in regulation, but Ewaliko's 50-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Tytus Lucas, sending the game into overtime.
The Lunas got the ball first the overtime, but was unable to advance the ball any closer than the 7 yard line and was forced to settle for a 27-yard field goal by Kohler-Fonohema.
"That's a great football team right there, they are going to do great at states, trust me," Baldwin coach A.J. Roloos said of the Lunas. "We just got each other better - they got us better, we got them better - and I wish them the best of luck at the state tournament."
Baldwin has already clinched the MIL Division I berth with the win over Lahainaluna, while the Lunas need another win, or a King Kekaulike loss, in order to secure their spot in the Division II tournament.
Kohler-Fonohema threw for 50 yards, and ran for another 57 yards and a score to lead the Lunas offensively. Jared Rocha-Isalas' 67 rushing yards on 14 carries was a team-high and Semisi Filikitonga added 61 rushing yards and a 12 yard touchdown pass reception.
Maui News staff reporter Robert Collias contributed to this story.